Sense: 1-2, 8-10
Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: taper 'to hit with the flat part of the hand'
Sense: 3-7
Origin: Old English tæppian


2 verb
tap2 S3 past tense and past participle tapped, present participle tapping

hit lightly

[intransitive and transitive] to hit your fingers lightly on something, for example to get someone's attention
tap somebody on the shoulder/arm/chest etc
He turned as someone tapped him on the shoulder.
tap on
I went up and tapped on the window.
tap something on/against/from etc something
Mark tapped his fingers on the tabletop impatiently.
She tapped ash from her cigarette.


[transitive] to make a regular pattern of sounds with your fingers or feet, especially when you are listening to music:
She tapped her feet in time to the music.
a toe-tapping tune


also tap into [transitive] to use or take what is needed from something such as an energy supply or an amount of money:
People are tapping into the power supply illegally.
We hope that additional sources of funding can be tapped.


also tap into [transitive] to make as much use as possible of the ideas, experience, knowledge etc that a group of people has:
Your adviser's experience is there to be tapped.
helping people tap into training opportunities


[transitive] to listen secretly to someone's telephone by using a special piece of electronic equipment:
Murray's phone calls to Australia were tapped.


[transitive] to get liquid from the trunk of a tree by making a hole in it


also tap up [transitive] British English informal if a football club taps a player from another team, it illegally tries to persuade that player to join its team

tap something ↔ in

phrasal verb
TDTD to put information, numbers etc into a computer, telephone etc by pressing buttons or keys:
Tap in your password before you log on.

tap something ↔ out

phrasal verb
1 to hit something lightly, especially with your fingers or foot, in order to make a pattern of sounds:
He whistled the tune and tapped out the rhythm.
2TD to write something with a computer:
Brian tapped out a name on his small electronic organizer.
with your fist: punch, thump, bash

with your open hand as a punishment: smack, spank, slap

with a hammer: bang, hammer

in order to get attention: bang, knock, tap, hammer

accidentally: bump into, crash into, strike, bang, knock, collide (with)

See also

Dictionary results for "tap"
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